Representative bureaucracy: does female police leadership affect gender based violence arrests?

Karen Johnson, John Houston

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Representative bureaucracy theory postulates that passive representation leads to active representation of minority groups. This article investigates the passive representation of female police officers at leadership levels and the active representation of women vis-a-vis gender-based violence arrest rates in the UK. Much of the extant research on representative bureaucracy is located at street level, with evidence showing that discretionary power of minority bureaucrats can lead to active representation. This article is focused on leadership levels of a public bureaucracy. The empirical research is based upon a panel dataset of female police officers as an independent variable and gender-based violence arrest rates as a dependent variable. The analysis reveals that there is little evidence of active representation of women by female police leadership.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date15 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • gender based violence
  • policing
  • leadership

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